Low prices take toll on Cuban nickel revenues

Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:19pm EDT
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* First-half 2013 revenues 26 percent below expectations

* Two processing plants have 61,700 tonne plan

* Nickel a key Cuban export

By Marc Frank

HAVANA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Cuban nickel industry revenues were well below expectations in the first six months of the year, mainly because of low international prices, official radio reported this week.

The provincial radio station of Eastern Holguin province, Radio Angulo, reporting on a visit to Moa municipality by provincial Communist Party leader Luis Torres Iribar, said the municipality's exports were short 26 percent, or $90 million, for the period.

Cuba's only two nickel plants, the Cubaniquel-owned Ernesto Che Guevara plant and the Pedro Soto Alba, a joint venture between Canadian mining company Sherritt International and Cubaniquel, are both located in Moa.

The report said that the Ernesto Che Guevara plant's earnings were 15 percent below expectations, and the Pedro Soto Alba plant was down 25 percent, "mainly due to the low price of the mineral on the world market."

Cuba plans to produce around 62,000 tonnes of unrefined nickel plus cobalt in 2013, according to local and foreign company reports.   Continued...